The final week of the regular season is in the books as the Big 12 Conference had yet another exciting weekend. The action started Friday morning in Provo and ended Saturday night in Manhattan, Kansas. Here are the good, bad, and ugly from Week 13 in the Big 12.
Texas Punched Their Ticket (Beat Texas Tech 57-7)
The score of this game pretty much tells the entire story here. Texas dominated Texas Tech from start to finish. The Longhorns offense controlled the game on the ground as they rushed for a whopping 302 yards led by Jaydon Blue who finished with 121 yards and a score. And how about the debut of Arch Manning?
As the offense scored at will, the special teams and defense also came up with some big plays. Texas had a kickoff return for a touchdown and a pick-six as well. The Longhorns’ defense completely shut down Texas Tech’s offense as they held them to just 198 yards and seven points. With the win, Texas is headed to Arlington to play for a Big 12 title.
Oklahoma’s Offense (Beat TCU 69-45)
I know the defense gave up some points, but it doesn’t matter when your offense puts up one shy of 70 on the board. Senior quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw for 400 yards and three scores and added another on the ground. Meanwhile, Gavin Sawchuk ran for over 100 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, I can’t forget about another great senior in Drake Stoops (yes, the son of Bob) who had one heck of a performance in his last home game. The Sooners did whatever they wanted on offense and TCU couldn’t stop it. I just hope Brent Venables was okay after taking this pregame tumble.
UCF is Going Bowling (Beat Houston 27-13)
What a win for UCF. After a rough start to the season, they went on to win three of their last four games to become bowl-eligible. RJ Harvey had a great game with 136 yards and two scores while John Rhys Plumlee was able to add a touchdown on the ground as well. The defense for the Knights got better as the game went on as they held Houston to just three points in the final three quarters. Congrats UCF, you are going bowling!
Kansas’ Rushing Attack (Beat Cincinnati 49-16)
After rushing for over 200 yards against Kansas State last week, Kansas followed that up by rushing for 312 yards against Cincinnati on the road. Devin Neal and Jason Bean combined for 196 yards and four touchdowns as they ran wild all over the Bearcats. With the win, Kansas has now won eight games for the first time since 2008.
Welcome Back Neal Brown (West Virginia beat Baylor 34-31)
Despite some special teams miscues, West Virginia found a way to get the job done on the road. Garrett Greene and Jahiem White carried the offense on their back as they combined 236 rushing yards and two touchdowns. When this offense needed to make a play, Garrett Greene made it late. Just look at this touchdown to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.
This offense played extremely well against Baylor which was nice to see. With the win, West Virginia finished the regular season with an 8-4 record which likely means Neal Brown will be back in 2024.
Oklahoma State’s Comeback (Beat BYU 40-34)
The first half of this game was about as ugly as it can get. The Cowboys looked lifeless and had zero energy in the first half. It almost looked like they had nothing to play for because of how poorly they were playing. At halftime, this team was down 24-6 and I thought that this was going to be another blowout loss. Instead, the Cowboys anchored down and fed Ollie Gordon III who went off for 166 yards and five touchdowns.
If not for a missed extra point late, this game would have never gone into overtime. Luckily for the Cowboys, they have Ollie Gordon III and got a takeaway to win the game. It ended up being the third-largest comeback in Oklahoma State history and it just so happened to be the game that sent them to the Big 12 championship.
Abu Sama and Jaylin Noel (Iowa State beat Kansas State 42-35)
In a game where Rocco Becht only needed to complete eight passes, Iowa State scored a whopping 42 points on just 35 plays. That was in large part due to guys like Abu Sama III and Jaylin Noel.
Abu Sama III went crazy in this one as he rushed for an absurd 276 yards and three touchdowns on just 16 carries. He had three rushing touchdowns of 60 yards or longer and became the first player to do that in a single game since Adrian Peterson back in 2005. He also made some Iowa State history as well because he now has the fourth most rushing yards in a single game in Iowa State history.
Of course, I can’t forget Jaylin Noel. He caught just three passes, yet he had 160 yards and two touchdowns. This offense had five 60+ yard touchdowns in this game. I don’t think I have ever seen anything like that before.
TCU’s Defense (Lost 69-45 to Oklahoma)
TCU’s offense showed some fight in this game but unfortunately, TCU’s defense didn’t show up at all in Norman. The Horned Frogs allowed Dillon Gabriel to pick them apart through the air and couldn’t stop the Sooners’ rushing attack at all. They gave up over 600 yards of offense and almost 70 points. I felt like it was the appropriate way to end a disappointing season in Fort Worth as the Frogs won’t be going bowling this season.
BYU’s Second Half Collapse (Lost 40-34 to Oklahoma State)
Everything went right for BYU in the first half against Oklahoma State. They scored several touchdowns offensively and got a pick-six in the second quarter. This team found themselves up 24-6 at halftime yet lost the game. In the second half, this offense only put up three points and the defense completely broke down as they had trouble slowing down Ollie Gordon III. Somehow, this team found a way to tie the game and send it into overtime but fell short due to a turnover in the second overtime. This loss hurt because it means BYU won’t be going bowling this season.
Texas Tech (Lost 57-7 to Texas)
Texas Tech fans, I am sorry that you had to sit there and watch that pile of garbage on Friday night. That was maybe the worst I have ever seen Texas Tech play in the last five years, and it was embarrassing to watch. The offense couldn’t get anything going as Behren Morton was running for his life and how many times did they run routes short of the first down marker on third down? I felt like there was ZERO creativity from this offense. Don’t get me wrong, the defense was pathetic too giving up over 300 rushing yards, but I was more disappointed with how this offense played. Everything does NOT run through Lubbock. Well, at least this season.
Houston’s Season (Lost 27-13 to UCF)
We can just forget about what happened on Saturday because once again the Houston Cougars weren’t competitive. With the loss, Houston’s 2023 season ends with a 4-8 record. Simply put, that isn’t good enough for Dana Holgorsen and his staff. This program needs a shot in the arm and some changes need to be made going into next year. There were some very interesting things said after the game and it just makes me wonder what the direction of this program is going forward.
Cincinnati (Lost 49-16 to Kansas)
Much like Houston, this game didn’t really matter. Cincinnati had nothing to play for here and it showed on Saturday. Emory Jones wasn’t good, but I guess the one positive was that the offense ran for over 200 yards. Other than that, there wasn’t anything that went right for Cincinnati. They couldn’t stop Kansas on the ground either as they gave up over 300 rushing yards. With the loss, this team falls to 3-9 in year one under Scott Satterfield.
Baylor’s Season (Lost 34-31)
While I did like the fight this team put up, the result is what I expect from Baylor. There were some things that happened in Waco that made me mad. First off, the crowd was pathetic but it’s not surprising. Secondly, why isn’t Richard Reese getting carries? The man returned back-to-back kickoffs for scores and showed why is he the most explosive player they have on offense. Not giving him touches is criminal. It’s just another reason why some changes need to be made in Waco. This team is too good to finish 3-9 and Baylor deserves better. Dave Aranda is now 3-13 in his last 16 games.
Kansas State’s Defense (Lost 42-35 to Iowa State)
The offense did their part, but the Kansas State defense had one of the worst games I can remember. The Wildcats gave up five 60+ yard touchdowns in this game and could not stop Iowa State’s offense at all. Their tackling and effort were poor, and I didn’t expect that from this defense. It’s pretty crazy that this team even had a chance to win the game at the end after a defensive performance like this.